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PhysOrg: New DNA analysis thousand times more sensitive

Date: 19.9.2011 

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team of researchers has developed a new DNA technology which makes it possible to perform reliable analyses on DNA quantities that are a thousand times smaller than was previously the case. The method can be used, for example, to study small quantities of stem cells, starting tumour tissue, parts of plant and animal tissue, and archaeological samples. The team, which includes a researcher from Plant Research International, part of Wageningen UR, is publishing the new method in Nature Methods under the name LinDA.

The main difference between LinDA and commonly used methods is how DNA are copied to make them identifiable in analysis equipment. With the current PCR-based methods only fragments between two primers can be amplified. Therefore regions with a higher GC content are more often amplified than regions with a higher AT content, as primers with high GC content bind to the DNA template at a higher temperature. With existing PCR based methods DNA fragments are amplified exponentially while LinDA DNA is amplified linearly. The latter is in particular attractive for the identification and quantification of low abundant DNA (or RNA) fragments.

In the new technology a specific is attached to the beginning and end of all DNA molecules in an analysis sample. This fragment is based on a specific piece of DNA that derives from a virus: the so-called T7 promoter. All DNA fragments containing this T7 promoter will be transcribed multiple times enabling ...

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